tv U.S.- Russia Relations CSPAN February 18, 2014 2:00pm-3:31pm EST
you never do it perfectly. anyone who says they do is wrong. >> interviews with bob corker and senator amy clover and schalk later on c-span. -- we take you live to the floor of the u.s. house. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.] the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the chair lays before the house
a communication from the speaker. the clerk: the speaker's room, washington, d.c., february 18, 2014. i hereby appoint the honorable thomas j. rooney to act as speaker pro tempore on this day. signed, john a. boehner, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: the prayer will be offered by the guest chaplain, reverend fed m federicci, the rated church, washington, d.c. the chaplain: let us pray. most loving and gracious god, we come before you this day knowing you are with us in the story of this time and this age, knowing that you are with us, guiding us, sustaining us and nurturing us with the gift of your steadfast love. you're with us today in this place, this house which represents the dreams and visions of so many. we pray that wisdom, justice and compassion may guide every member and every member of
their staff. may this house's deliberations and actions be taken in the spirit of respect for our diversity and differences. may this nation be knit together as one. may we hold one another true to the covenant of freedom and justice for all. may we be peaceful, may we be safe, may we be grateful. all we ask in the power and divine love which inspires and transforms all. amen. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to section 2-a of house resolution 475, the journal of the last day's proceeding is approved. the chair will lead the house in the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. under clause 5-d of rule 20,
the chair announces to the house that in light of the resignation of the gentleman from new jersey, mr. andrews, the whole number of the house is 431. the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives, sir, pursuant to the permission granted in clause 2-h of rule 2 of the rules of the u.s. house of representatives, the clerk received the following message from the secretary of the senate on february 18, 2014, at 10:15 a.m. that the senate passed senate 1254. signed sincerely, karen l. haas. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to section 2-b of house resolution 475, the house stands adjourned until 11:00
we take you live now to the brookings institution for discussion on u.s.-russia relations after the fall of the soviet union to present day. it is getting underway and you are hearing from president strobe talbott, president of brookings. live coverage on c-span. >> terrific for all of you to come out for what i think is going to be a first-class discussion on the relationship both in recent history and no doubt contemporaneously as well between the united states and the russian federation. in fact, i think we will probably reach back into the od as well. peri the occasion for this discussion
today, although the front pages of the newspaper, including the one you work for, give us an occasion to have this conversation pretty much every day, peter, is the publication of angela stent's absolutely terrific book "the limits of partnership." awill come back and say just word or two before i turn things over to my colleague jonah hill, who is going -- i colleague fiona hill, who is going to moderate a discussion among the 4 of us here, which is to say she will be a player-coach, because she will have to moderate herself. she has strong views. fiona, i think most of you know, is the director of our center on the united states and europe. she has many things in common with the author of the hour, angela. both of them served as the national intelligence officers
in the intelligence community of our government. both of them, by the way, have not typically american accents, which is also an interesting point. they serve this government and the station very well, it keeping -- serve this government and this nation very well, keeping an eye on i guess it was called the eurasian complex. we also have with us peter baker of "the new york times." they are all authors. fiona, along with her colleague in our foreign policy program, wrote a book on mr. putin. that is the title, in fact. it is on sale in our bookstore. but you don't have to go even to the bookstore to get a copy of angela's book, which is right outside of this auditorium. as for peter, he has a new book ," whiched "days of fire
covers a great deal of ground, 'scluding president bush 43 ability to look into the eyes and see into the soul of his foreign counterpart. maybe that will, but in the course of our conversation. peter and his wife, susan g lasser, a number of years ago -- i guess you updated it in 2007, 2008, something like that -- "kremlin rising," based on her own reporting from russia. panel that not a topic angs to the certain amount of expertise, but also shows here at brookings reaching out to the larger community of people working on issues that our scholars are
here. angela is very much part of the brookings family. she is a nonresident senior fellow in foreign policy. peter, despite the demands of his day job, has been very good about attending a number of our .orums speaking of the larger community, i look around this room, and i feel this is a little bit of a gathering of the clan. i see any number of people, including a number of people who were sources of mine when i was an ink-stained wretch. and the diplomatic community is represented here today from serbia and the ambassador of georgia. thanks to both of you for joining us. maybe it is a coincidence, maybe it is not, but both of them are .ormer think tankers it shows that it is a community that stays together over time. i am going to make, by a way of getting the ball rolling before fiona takes over in guiding the
conversation, one point about angela's book itself, and another point about its title. she gave me a chance to read it , and i try toipt stay current with literature coming out about a part of the world that i've been fascinated with virtually all of my life. i think it can be said that this bothe first book that has scholarly rigor and accessibility to general readers that covers the full sweep and complexity of the relationship federationr/russian and the united states of the cold war. in that sense, it is a first. i bet that it is going to also be recognized as the best for a
long time to come. angela takes us back at the beginning of the book a quarter of a century. reminds me of that line from -- you read about that and it makes you think about a galaxy far, far away in a long time ago. she starts with the relationship between george herbert walker bush and mikhail gorbachev. and that gets me to one observation i wanted to make about the title. i think it is a particularly good title. it has its origin, particularly , inword partnership precisely the relationship between president bush 41 and the last president of the soviet union. , the chairman89
of the joint chiefs of staff, admiral bill crowell, was in moscow on a return visit. the general had been here to the united states. in the course of that visit, crowell was ushered into the president -- the presence of a my kylbachev -- of gorbachev, who said quite prominently and at least twice in the conversation that he wanted a new word to characterize the u.s.-soviet word,onship, and that borrowed from the english, was for "partnership." once that was translated for the admiral, he was kind of a flummoxed. he did not have any talking points on how to react to the top end of the kremlin saying that there was now going to be a
u.s.-soviet partnership. but the fact is, even starting before then, going back i think you could say in some ways to the reagan administration, the been, wasnership" had already, and would for some time translated into the realm of policy, diplomacy him and even strategy on both sides. that was true in dealing with a number of very contentious in europe. i mentioned the bcm from serbia is here. iod in the 1990's when a despite the strong disagreement between the united states and the russian federation over the use of nato force, particularly in the course of oh operation, -- particularly in the kosovo operation, there was a high degree of diplomacy to bring
that war to an end. there were numerous our competence -- there were numerous our competence in arms control, which for the time being brought into retirement the balance of terror. and i think particularly given kiev,ws of the day from it is worth remembering that particularly in the early 1990's, the russian federation and the united states worked very, very closely to ensure and guarantee the independence and territorial integrity of ukraine , and in that context, to eliminate and get the ukrainians to eliminate their strategic veryal, which is a very, far stretch from where we are today. i would say that the concept of both -- both the concept and
practice of partnership lasted most of the way, though perhaps not all of the way, through boris yeltsin's presidency. and then entered vladimir putin. i suppose you could say we entered what might be called the utin era not just in russia but in international relations. i remember being struck that putin, who i guess would accept mr. putin rather than comrade putin, he made the adjustment to the vocabulary, including the vocabulary of partnership. but i remember being struck a number of years ago, including, i suspect you picked this up when you and susan were in moscow, that when he would say "our western partners," there
was a touch of sarcasm in his use of the words. that brings us to the title of angela's book, which is "the limits of partnership," and i think it is important that the word "limits" is italicized, as it were. one of the questions that we will be grappling with in this conversation and with you joining in due course is whether limits goes far enough. is it the end of partnership? how do we work within the limits that are still there? so with that, i am going to turn it over to comrade -- [laughter] s., dr. hill. >> thank you very much, strobe. we are here at quite a moment was occasion. and we set up a book launch for
angela, we were aiming for valentine's day but a few things got in the way. many of you might've seen the great website on tumblr that was devoted to mr. putin, vlad entine's day. it was a particular favorite. now we find ourselves with this book launch again and competing narratives about what is happening not just in the sochi , butics, still underway also about what is happening in kiev. and as we've come into the room today, i'm sure that many of you have seen the news, there seems to be a standup between security services and demonstrators and many people killed already, lots of violence. this is not an outcome that anybody wanted to see. and that is part of the problems , angela, that you have been rattling with in your book, the competing narratives over what has been happening the last years. year's -- 20-plus and as strobe race in the
beginning, we have the question of who lost russia, and what you are trying to do in this book is to stand back from all this and create his overarching perspective on where we have been through these last couple of decades. as strobe also just mentioned, it is ironic that it is almost 20 years to the month or the date since the end of the agreement that you and so many other people took part in to find a way of brokering a standup about ukraine, the disposition of its nuclear forces and ultimately what was going to happen too much of the rest of the soviet nuclear arsenal and the military infrastructure that was on ukrainian soil, whether the u.s., ukraine, russia -- with the u.s., ukraine, and russia working together so long ago. angela, what happened? what is gone wrong so many times over the last 20 years? >> who was to blame? >> who is guilty?
first of all, thank you very much for inviting me to be here. i want to thank the three other people on the panel, because you were all very helpful to me when i was writing the book and you were reminding me, strobe, when you talk about the ukrainian agreement in a 1994, that resident clinton -- president had of the carpe diem and yeltsin was not happy about this. my book shows that u.s.-russian relations have been on a roller coaster since the soviet union collapsed, and we have had these cycles of political boom and bust, and we are certainly in a political bus at the moment, as we have heard. i would illustrate it by the trifecta of three major issues, and that is snowden, syria, and sochi. i will start off with edward snowden. to granted political
asylum to edward snowden despite group needed requests by the white house that he sent him back to the united states. it was a conscious choice from his point of view and you could say maybe it was a rational choice, because there were great pr benefits to be gained by showing that russia was grabbing humanity -- granting humanitarian asylum to someone who had exposed the intrusive policies of the united states. secondly, there had been an amazing follow from the snowden revelations in terms of deteriorating relationships between the u.s. and its european allies him a particularly germany. that may have been quite point offrom putin's view, but it was also a conscious decision and the to the lowest point in u.s.-russian relations -- we can argue since when, but certainly for a very long time. last august president obama called for a pause in u.s.-russian relations, saying that we have to reset what we are doing and where russia is going. i think we haven't heard that the pause is over yet.
i don't see -- we can come back to that -- that there is much on the bilateral agenda for the rest of the obama presidency in terms of relations with russia. so that is snowden. then there is a serious. -- syria. here you see all the complexities of the relationship, because we are elaborating with a rush on this multilateral issue, disarming the chemical weapons. you saw how russia took the initiative when the u.s., frankly, was not sure what it was going to do. that process is working reasonably well. what we also see that we are on fundamentally different sides in terms of how to and the syrian civil war, what to do about humanitarian intervention. secretary kerry had very sharp words for russia and its unwillingness to stop the slaughter by still providing arms to president assad. president obama himself had rather harsh words about that. we do clash with the russians
over how this war should end, but we are also working with them in terms of the chemical weapons. finally, there is sochi. that again shows competition and cooperation in a way. i would say that the u.s. media was exaggeratedly negative -- we talked about this -- in their before the sochi games open, painting a very dark picture of what was wrong with everything. on, ithe games have been has been 10 days now, the media coverage of gotten more positive , the athletes seem to be pretty happy with the conditions, except for the weather, which nobody can guarantee. but then agai -- and there again, we are grudgingly working with the russians on some of these issues. we have come a very long way from the heady days of the obama reset, and i remember president auditorium this very giving a speech at brookings, talking about his relationship with president obama, opening his twitter account, and of course, going to meet hamburgers
with president obama at ray's he burger, if you remember that, in arlington. we are very long way from that. to has it been so difficult develop a productive relationship between the united states and russia? what would it take to maybe develop a more productive relationship? or should we forget about resets and find another way to engage without expectations of finding some qualitatively new relationship? in the book i look at 4 resets and we have had 4 since the collapse of the soviet union. underason one was president george h w bush. and the greater congressman of the, strobe has already -- great a congressman of that -- strobe has already alluded to it it was thensure that
only nuclear state, and the work lugar didors nunn and in cooperation with the bush thenistration on whereabouts of scientists who could have sold their know how to rope states or terrorist states orto rogue terrorist groups. that was a brief reset. the second was president bill clinton's reset, the archite ct of which is sitting here, and that involve much broader involvement with the russian economy, russian society, with trying to build the institutions of democracy. it also involved, as strobe said, trying to get a reluctant russia to cooperate on the balkans, on bosnia, and then on kosovo. and it was very much driven by the personal relationship between presidents clinton and yeltsin. another theme of my book is the relationship with russia doesn't have that many stakeholders and it, for economic and other reasons we can talk about.
therefore, the relationship between the 2 presidents is usually is proportionately important in this kind of u.s.-russian ties, and the ties in the 1990's were particularly aborted in moving that relationship forward. it did not and do so well at the end of the kosovo war and went yeltsin was not in physically good shape but it was a major force in the 1990's. the problem is that russia and the united states, at least official russia and the united states, tended to view what happened in the 1990's rather differently, and that is another source of one of the legacies between these 2 countries. you hear many complaints, at least from the kremlin, about what happened in the 1990's. we tend to see it as a sign of greater pluralism, self-determination, rush opening up to the world. as you know, it is portrayed officially in most of the russian media as a time of chaos, humiliation, impoverishment, part of the narrative for president putin
that he has restored russia from this parlor situation in the 1990's. the third reset, as i described in my book, was initiated by president putin himself. attacks.fter the 9/11 maybe peter will talk about the first meeting between presidents bush and putin. famous phrase,e president bush looked into his eyes and got a measure of his soul. it was president putin at that point who is interested in seeking greater integration with -- if not greater integration with the west, a greater relationship with the u.s. when we were involved in the first stage of the afghan war, russia was really quite helpful. the problem with that reset, as one of my russian colleagues described me, is that what putin was looking for was an equal relationship of unequals. in other words, he wanted the united states to treat russia as a strategic partner, to recognize its rights in its
neighborhood, it's fear of privileged interests -- i'm sure we will come back to ukraine -- and that is what he thought he would get in return for the support could in the russian point of view, what can thereafter is the invasion of iraq and the revolutions in ukraine and georgia, and from the russian point of view, and the bush freedom agenda, this was all tied to the question of regime change and the principles that the u.s. believed it had the right to do this. this soured of the relationship greatly. the lowest point was the outbreak of russia-georgia war, and the last formal meeting between presidents bush and openinging at the ceremony of the olympic games in beijing in 2008 when president bush told president putin that he was cold-blooded. , wasourth reset, of course the reset of the obama administration, and that, i would say, started out quite
well, and was quite successful during the first term. we know all the results of that -- the new start treaty, the cooperation on more sanctions against iran, cooperation on afghanistan, and russia joining the wto. the issue then was -- this comes back to the personalities of the leaders -- that reset was very much driven by the personal relationships between president obama and president medvedev. they seems to have gotten on really quite well. even though everyone understood that in this interesting tandem arrangement, then-prime minister putin was making the decisions, it was still the fact that the 2 presidents could relate to each other that made them able to drive forward a fairly complicated agenda. things started to go sour when president putin -- prime ,inister putin announced, sorry that the 2 were going to switch
places and he was going to come back to the kremlin, and then you have demonstrations in december 2011, you had mr. putin blaming secretary clinton for paying demonstrators to go into the street, and after that, the relationship went south. if you look at the picture on the cover of the book, you see big 2 presidents a g 20 summit in 2012 sort of about two shake hands but neither of them very happy about that. i think just a couple more points and then we obviously want to open it to discussion. we have a very different -- the russians and the americans, the governments, let's say, have a very different views of what an improved relationship would look like. again, you come back to the equal partnership of unequal's. russia realizing that in the last 22 years, it is not ranked as high in american priorities as america has in russian priorities. i think that is changing now. putin is looking less to the
united states than elsewhere in the world, eastward and other places, for recognition, for strategic partners. for much of this time, russia was a very important second order priority for the united states but not a first-order priority. yet it played an important role in enabling us to achieve our goals in our first-order priorities. are there being an asymmetry and mismatch there and how important we are for each other. another point that we are seeing very much on display now is in the beginning, in the 1990's, the united states and its allies hoped that russia would move towards a different system, that it would embrace it broadly euro atlantic values and reject features not only of the communist system but other aspects of russia's past. it hasn't turned out like that, and to date russia every much resents itself -- presents itself as an alternate model to the united states, to the
european union, that it respects absolute sovereignty in most countries of the world, it rejects the idea of response ability to protect. when we talk about ukraine and georgia, we might question the absolute sovereignty, but in general that is what it says. it also presents itself as an alternative civilizational model, presenting russian orthodoxy as the true harbinger of christian values and, as putin recently said, traditional muslim values, too, an interesting point given all the problems russia has with its muslim minorities. and then saying that the west has lost its moral compass and is decadent. this appeals to a large number of countries in the world could we shouldn't think this is a minority view. but it is russia carving out a role for itself as a separate power and almost as a leader of the conservative international. where does that leave us now? i will just make a few more points. i think it is very difficult to dual legaciesese
of distrust caused by the cold war and then by what happened in the 1990's. i think, in fact, it would be much better to try to avoid future resets. i think that would mean for the united states accepting that russia is a large country with a hybrid political system whose movement away from the soviet .ystem is a matter of decades i think one german politician at the beginning of this said that it will take russia 70 years maybe to make -- i don't even want to use the word "transition," but to move to something that is different from what has come hundreds of years before. it is a long process and you have to be patient. it would also take for a u.s. congress which really has not been a force for change in u.s.-russian relations, that is, in terms of trying to improve the relationship, it would take congress looking at what it does and maybe eschewing future
punitive actions against russia because that is also contribute to the deterioration of the relationship. it also involves accepting that it is not a good idea to start another reset, to think that if only we can find a better way of interacting these issues are going to be resolved, but to be realistic about cooperating with russia on those multilateral issues where we have to work together, however challenging it is, to keep up all of the civil society contacts we have and try to nurture them, because those have to be nurtured. but i think the immediate thing to realize is that even if you have an à la carte relationship with a country like russia, you still have to have an effective framework to even conduct thatàa la carte relationship. i think we are only at the beginning of thinking of what that framework might be. i think i will stop there. >> thanks, angela. of course, it was condoleezza
rice who also thought we should have an à la carte relationship with russia back in 2000 in her famous piece in "foreign affairs." and i guess we're still talking about the same thing 14 years later. here, you have a very interesting perspective on this because you and susan were co-bureau chiefs at "the washington post" just as mr. putin was coming into his edition. -- in his position could and then you switch, coming back to the united states -- not just switch newspapers, but switched to looking at presidential politics here. angela has put her finger on the problems that strobe saw firsthand back in the day with bill clinton and poor sales and, -- and boris yeltsin, the importance of this relationship at the very top, and you have a chapter in your book that talks about the bush-putin relationship. i wonder how you reflect looking back on this long span of time, looking at things on the ground
in russia and then from the vantage point in washington, d.c., about how those relationships have had an impact on where we are today in the u.s.-russisia -- i don't know wt we are calling it now -- interaction for the moment. >> that's a great question. thank you very much for having me and including the on this very august panel. admirer of all 3 people on here, including their books. if you want to know anything about the 1990's and the clinton era, you have to read, unrivaled and "imix of journalism was there" quality to it, and fiona's book, several books, but the latest on putin is required reading for anybody who wants to understand who he is and get inside of him. she goes in a way that few americans and few westerners
have done to really try to penetrate the sort of impenetrable figure. and it now angela's book, which i am great fan of come i just have to finish it. she makes a number of very important points, and we will in ao bush and putin second. she talks about the recent we have experienced in the last few years as part of the cycle. we have seen this cycle again and again. in foreign-policy terms from i think of charlie brown and the football. they teach that at georgetown, don't they? [laughter] and with the football, charlie brown is the next president who comes along and is convinced he is the one who can make friends with these longtime adversaries, if we solicit down and talk, of course we have the same interests. -- if we simply sit down and talk, of course we have the same interests. what you get out of reading angela's book, the insight that
is slow to don again and again with each new presidency that we have different interests, not only do we have different interests, we make a mistake in trying to assume that we understand what their interests are, because we don't pick we try to superimpose our own american ideas of what russian interests ought to be, and they frustrate us again and again because they don't see things the way we think they should see them, not just the way we see them, but the way we think they should see them. why don't they think of iran the way we think of iran? the southern border is more dangerous to them than us. her book is a terrific read and i would recommend it highly. bush and putin is a great, fascinating example are of this cycle.plar of this very i had actually been with president clinton in denver when they admitted russia into the g-8 and again when he traveled to russia in 1998.
i watched a little bit of clinton and yeltsin. then bush comes along and he clearly wants this to be a legacy for him as well. he declared i can't remember how many times "the cold war is now over," forgetting the entire time strobe was in office and the entire 1990's, that somehow 2001 was the beginning of a new era. and he wanted it to be. he did meet with president putin in slovenia famously. very interesting story to me is not just the soul comment, but the moment behind the scenes when putin is going through his talking points about soviet debt and bush is clearly bored and doesn't find it very interesting and kind of interrupts him and says "effort of this story about you and your -- i have heard this story about you and your cross." putin recovers pretty quickly and tells the story about his mother rescuing this orthodox
cross and rescuing it from a fryer and how important it was to him. , as a longtime case officer and longtime student of how to work the other side, figured out how to push buttons that would appeal to bush, and he clearly did. he has asked the question that condi rice will bushyou today she didn't prepare bush for -- she didn't repair bush for, do you trust him, and he made a comment about looking into a soul. it didn't last that long could by the time you get to court across th -- order costin -- arrest, bush has a much more jaundiced view. in my book there were conversations he had with tony blair and with other leaders he expressed frustration, saying is likeking with putin
being at a junior high debating society, fax don't matter to the guy. 2005,eting in slovakia in he said "i was so mad at that interpreter that i wanted to reach over and slap the hell out of him. , we've lost him, he has become a czar." that implies we ever had him to begin with. bush by the end had a very jaundiced understanding of president putin, just as president obama presumably does today. the next president is going to come along and they will want to do something. the thing they ought to do before they make the decision is read angela spoke -- read angela's book. [laughter] >> we will make sure that happens. strobe, on the oligarch relationship and eating -- à la carte relationship and needing a framework, we have tried that for many times.
ae attempt at creating commission that got revitalized as part of the reset and the binational presidential commissions. what was the thinking, if you can think way back to that day when you are then overseeing all of the relationships that work or do anything -- that were coordinating, about trying to create that trend? it underscores the structural problems we have and the relationship. it gets around to that relationship and the chemistry between the people, if it is there or not there, but even if it is there, in terms of meaningful results in the relationship, i'm always thinking back in the 1990's about trying to create that frame to hang the presidential relationship on. >> i think something that peter said is an important starting point, that is that most of the we'reuring the period
talking about, not to mention the decades before, just as -- let'sd, u.s. and use russia geographically, as it were -- russia and the soviet union before it, we did not have compatible interests. in the mind of boris yeltsin and in the mind of names that have a very musty feel to them now, i think that there was -- you can either call it a bright shining moment, or a period of mutual self-delusion, when the leaders on both sides did think that there were fundamental compatibilities. i don't think there is a more powerful example in history that i can think of where personality really matters. both of you have alluded to that.
has ayeltsin obviously very, very mixed record. i suspect that russian and other historians who go back and have more perspective in judging him will make mixed judgments. -- this much i am certain of ,e felt, to coin a phrase that the soviet union had become kind of an empire of evil, that the communist party was the mechanism for that evil, never mind, by the way, that he came up through that system. , in one of the many ironies of history -- i would say gorbachev and yeltsin had their own compatibilities, and they represented kind of attacking -- kind of a tagteam. the old www, worldwide wrestling
or whatever it's called -- [laughter] gorgeous george, whatever. first up was gorbachev. while his aim was to moderate and modernize and civilize the soviet union, it was also to save the soviet union. he came to the rational view, which i, by the way, think should resonate today as we talk about the future of russia. that the only way the soviet union could survive and become what he called a normal, modern state, was to give up the big , jamaica,e iron fist get a story fairly short -- and to take a complicated story fairly sure, that was true, but the soviet union could not survive without the big lie on the iron fist. and there was the falling out between gerber chuck and yeltsin thomas and yeltsin comes in as
an anti-communist, a former communist who was an , and who really did buy into the idea that russia was a great country that could finally manifest its greatness at the end of the 20th century by joining the international community with universally accepted norms, including norms of how to govern your own country. and while i think president clinton has a good deal to be proud of and what he was able to period,sh during that he had a huge advantage that his successors, president bush 43 and barack obama, and probably presidents to come, will not have. and that is that there was not an operative in the kremlin --
that is the subtitle of cliff -- but thereook was a democrat. he is a democrat occasionally slipping into vocabulary meaning so hele like a czar," wasn't a jeffersonian democrat. and he really did believe in those of values and the notion of partnership. and that ended even before yeltsin left office, because putin was increasingly not just -- i will and on this -- not just in an increasingly powerful andtion as prime minister then acting president and then president, he also represented verytire cadre
commonly and powerfully placed throughout the entire russian system that felt the way he did. we have never been able to get back to this notion, this sense of common ground. the kind of exception that firms the rule -- proves the rule could he will be an interesting character to understand himself at some point. when men yet have spoke from this podium, -- when men yet spoke from this podium, he was also yeltsinesque, but he had no real power. zero-sum, uslassic versus them view of the world, and the them is us, if i can put it that way. i heard a story quite reliably that he was being briefed for meeting of a visiting american official, and the briefer, a russian who work for putin, said
that this person is a friend of ours. putin snapped and said "we have no friends in the west." that really says it all. later in the conversation we should come back to what the real threats to russia are, and there are many, and virtually none of them are in the west. >> you made a very interesting point. it underscores very much that no matter what structures we put in place, they are not going to be really adequate. so the attempt to create something broader on a more horizontal level to close the united states and russia in it together always founders of the person at the very top. the commission, a close a rough idea, was going great. we had all kinds of quite productive collaboration between
our cabinet agencies in washington and the ministries in and then the primakov commission didn't do so well. >> it is probably the case, angela, in your interviews with people around the obama administration, that the alsoeral commissions were behind the scenes at the lower level actually making some real achievements on some of the more mundane, i guess, cooperative things, the kinds of things that president bush would have rolled his eyes over. nonetheless, it was actually making some kind of impact. were, but your point being that the people of the top blessed this and believe in it, then however difficult it is or however slow moving these different groups and processes are, they do work. the one that was abolished wa one, andil society
that didn't work out so well because the notions of civil society were represented at the top there, i.e. the russian action and the american action, were very different. >> i would have paid to go see those, if they would allow us to go into those. >> fly on the wall. and the bilateral commission still exists. it has lots of working groups. some of them are apparently doing good work. they are advancing. again, it is very slow process. but it doesn't filter up to the top. it is very compartmentalized. but you have to keep these things going and i'm not sure how much even ordinary russians know about what is happening in those meetings, because it would give us a somewhat more positive view of what is happening, but instead, what you get -- we read about this in your very show a couple tv
nights ago likening the united states to nazi germany on at the same time as you had the olympic games. these things only work at a lower level if they are blessed at the top. peter, what you and susan were in on kremlin rising was charting this change of what angela has been talking about. what we have in the person of vladimir putin, as strobe was saying, is someone of a and you sawdre, that moving in real time when you were there. we now have a situation where just like yeltsin, putin is not part of a political party but as an institutional arrangement around him. you deliberately picked the title "kremlin rising," as opposed to the state itself, the russian state. putin came in saying he was going to restore the state, but the one institution that has loomed over everything is the presidency housed in the kremlin. during the arrangements between it looks likeutin
it might be more effective institutions that might be more back to institutions. have you seen in the time since when you have been covering it from a different angle? point in a direction we could hang something on looking into the future. >> well -- [laughs] when we went to russia we went around and we met a lot of people and we talk to them about russia and what struck me was the division about russia was always in the optimist-pessimist camp. it was really hard to find somebody in between. at the time there were a lot of optimists when we first went there. people thought putin was going to be a technocratic, professional, new generation legacy, of yeltsin's and looking at kgb as sort of a finishing school education like harvard. hard tof course, it is
find an optimist, hard to find somebody who will look positively at the prospects. i still think that long-term, you know, russia is going to be different over time, and it is just not going to be in the that we want it to go, the straight-line we hoped it would take. if you visit russia, if you spent time in russia, and you don't spend time talking about politics, you are struck by what a modern country this is by comparison to the way it was in the 1970's and 1980's. this is a country that is of great means, at least in the great cities, not just in moscow anymore, but in the second-tier cities. people are not worried that their neighbors are going to rat them out for making a joke about the leader, and they have cell phones, they travel around the world, they have businesses. in many ways it is the european country today. our experience watching putin was that it was the people who try to make a difference, to try to change things, that were perceived as a threat to the
kremlin, that get whacked down like michael moore -- that get whacked down like whack-a-mole. one of the things we don't fully understand is that that is accepted by society there. putin is not imposing himself on a reluctant society. as invigorating as it was to see the protests come he still has the support of most of the country. he has control of the tv and all the mechanisms and that is important, you can't forget that, and without that it would perhaps be a different story. but in fact, this is a country that is being ruled the way he thinks it wants to be ruled could i always tell americans -- people in this audience will know this, but i tell my ordinary friends who don't know much about russia that when we were there, polls show that 25% of russians would have voted for stalin for president. until you understand why that is and part of that different thinking, we will not be able to understand them.
they will have their country and their history and their leaders in a way that we don't and they don't understand it the way we do. one of the great things about she talked ofis those people, she talked to the russians about their point of view, and the book offers their frustrations, their disappointments, their view of how we let them down in the bush instance, after 9/11, we did not reciprocate with the average putin -- the outreach putin made with the central asia. some of this we could debate -- obviously, a lot of this we could debate, but it is interesting to hear it from their point of view. too many to turn it distinguished people in the audience, but i was thinking as i was listening to peter talking and back to strobe's comment that yeltsin thought that we share similar values, whether it was delusion or not.
there was a point where looked like convergence, the term we used to use when we were all doing soviet studies, that it might actually happen. and we are back to values again, and values as a point of division. putin is trying to push forward with this rather conservative, and a russian sense, agenda -- conservative, in a russian sense, agenda, and as peter pointed out, it resonates. there was a poll out today on attitudes towards homosexuality in russia. if you years ago there was a shift in the population, about 30-40% of the publishing feeling somewhat comfortable with the idea that homosexuals have the same rights as everyone else. this has changed dramatically and we are about 80% basically as a population being opposed to any kind of progress towards gay marriage or anything else.
this is something that shifted in european and u.s. society over a period of time, too. we are not where we were even 10 years ago in the united states. but this obviously gets to peter's point that there are ships in the way people think about things, and this agenda does resonate. so how do we deal with that? we are not in the old ideological struggles that we were at the end of the cold war, but we are at a different place than where we thought we might -- might be 20go years ago in terms of clash of values. >> clash of civilizations. we don't have an ideological struggle with russia but we represent very different things. if you go back to the 1970's, this isn't a new phenomenon that the russian leadership puts forward russia as an alternative model to the decadent west, and the harbinger of traditional values. it somehow got lost during the soviet period, when it was a different ideological struggle. the only way we could deal with
this -- it is tricky, and you see this at the sochi games. on the one hand you have to respect that this is where russia is, as you say, a majority of people support this, and particularly the attitudes issues.lgbt on the other hand, the united states and the european stand for values and they can't pretend they don't. it is important to step back and focus on these kinds of pragmatic, concrete issues -- syria, iran, other issues, post we14 afghanistan, where have to try to work together and not focus so much on the value question, where we really have true divisions, and where, as himself said on one of the sunday talk shows a few weeks ago, russia is not an outlier. have similars
legislation and in seven of those countries they get executed for it. back andes is stepping understanding that that is the value system that is being propagated their come and there's not much we can do about it. there's not much we can do about what is happening inside russia, and therefore we should be more sort of modest in what our expectations are about interacting with russia and focusing on these international questions. >> well, we've got half an hour, and i'm sure there are lots of contentious issues raised. i will take 3 questions at a time and then come back to everybody on the panel. we have a mic coming down. and if everybody could introduce themselves, and to get in as many questions as possible, to keep them brief. >> documentary film maker. tug-of-wart to the between the west and the east, with respect to the former states of the soviet union -- ukraine, although for, belarus,
so forth -- how is russia likely to react in this tug-of-war in the future, given this new model that putin is attempting to put forth? >> thanks. >> thanks very much. the mitchell report. i want to go back to something that dr. stent said and see if i could get you to expand on it just a bit. it seems to me that the message ts,let's not do anymore rese but what we need to do is develop a framework for having this relationship. and the question is both specific to russia and sort of generally, if you will, about political theory, which is what is a framework? how is it different from a
strategy or a policy? to give use is a way some specificity to that with respect to russia, i would be interested in your thinking. >> thanks. and on the aisle here. >> to what extent does putin lead or follow russian public opinion? well -- >> go ahead with the question on the frame -- >> or maybe i will start off eurasian?uestion on i would say that putin's project for his third term is the creation of the eurasian union. if you were able to create that, that would include most of the post-soviet states, not all of
them. ukraine would be the key member there. this would be an economic organization but also a political one, which means you would have a separate block once again in the former soviet space . they're closer to each other than at any part of the world. since ukraine would be the key from the russian point of view, to ensure that ukraine does not sign agreements with the european union, would make it possible to create this you have all of the people who are out on the streets
demonstrating who do want to be european. but for them, european means also not having a corrupt on transparent -- a corrupt, un transparent government. the other thing to realize is that russia is in it for the long -- this is a long game. russia has also provided a lot of financial support to ukraine and it will not back away easily. one has to question how long either the united states or the european union's attention can be so focused on that area that this really isn't the symmetrical fight. 's, russia views this as a traditional geopolitical struggle. u.s., now weof the are more involved. we weren't that involved six month ago. but this will be an ongoing situation, an ongoing struggle. from the russian point of view, it is a very high-stakes issue and has it really will determine the future of russia's own
influence in its neighborhood. framework. it's an excellent question. we do have some frameworks, right? a format whereby our foreign and defense secretaries talk to the russian foreign minister and defense minister. we have various other fora where we talk about different issues. on another level, we have the arctic as a region. we are cooperating with the russians on a number of these issues. there is a number of fora to discuss that. of course, we have the united nations security council, very importantly. i guess the idea of having a framework would be what -- be one where these parts would be integrated. of to try to have a sense pride door ties in -- of prioritizing this and the
institutions in which they interact and trying to get more coherence to it. that would be the way i would start. >> i don't know if you want to talk about the whole eurasian union issue on this. obviously, that is something that was always on the agenda in the 1990's because of the aspirations in the west with the eu, the idea of expanding out and reintegrating the european space politically and economically. >> angela answer the question very well. i would just underscore something that she said at the end with maybe a footnote to it. russia, putin in particular , have taken a classic geopolitical view and it's in sum -- of aof zero zero-sum game.
into andoesn't buy maybe doesn't recognize is that it is a different world. and geo-economics is part of geopolitics. and the model, the incentive that he is offering these other former republics of the ussr is a loser of a model. ad so, yeah, he is playing long game, but it will be a losing game. at some point, we may want to get back to what it means for russia itself and its own sustainability and a torrent -- and its current borders given the fact that virtually all of putin's policies threaten to the centrifugal forces that caused the ussr to fall apart. just one quick stab at an answer on who is leading whom, he is
the leader. and just to sort of play on that word, that word has a kind of here and it and in legitimacy, if i can say it. we have our leaders here. to follow them and to point out their shortcomings and to change them and criticize them. that is not part of the russian -- i don't mean to excessively , but thealize tradition of those are, the czar, the of the borst, which is not used now because it is too much like the fuhrer, but authoritarianism is like the tango. it takes both leaders and the led to have enough of -- to have an author terry and local culture -- to have an offertory
authoritarian political culture. >> putin and the kremlin pay a lot of attention to public opinion polls. there are some really good polling agencies in russia. not public opinion polling that is done by the kremlin for the kremlin. there is much broader things that are being done. they also do so -- do show some troubling things down the line. falling in the number of years. has fallen in some of the ratings, some of the polling from a high point in 2008 at 84%
to about 65% in more recent polls. putin is running against himself because there is no alternative to him in the clinical spectrum. that is an advantage and a disadvantage because you have to continue bettering yourself. not just in your political tenure, but also in your life. as we know, it is always quite hard to outcompete and better your younger self. theputin is a master with different costume changes. he still looks pretty vigorous. in 2024, it will be harder to play the role of the action hero politician that he has been doing up until now. and he has to transition his political brand into something else. so he spends a lot of time looking at the polls, the sochi olympics, the way they are very important to all of this.
and the hallmark for the kremlin from the very beginning. russia is in many respects a direct democracy. about direct importance about all of this. everybody getting out to the town square and having their voice heard. putin talks about this, how important it is to aggregate all of that clamor from around the population. but it is a difficult thing to keep on top of an something he spends a lot of time on since the very beginning. peter, if you have some additional thoughts. >> i think what you citizens at the right. describes the relationship between the leader and the lead, it's symbiotic. i think it is symbiosis with putin and his constituents. he is a master with instinct.
polling on how to connect a mass of people in russia. i think the costume changes a great line. the symbolism of the macho leader and the various forms it andtaken, it's brilliant associating himself with the broader a but. and there are ups and downs and there are things that he has to be worried about. every time you see little blips in the polls, oh, jputin may be in trouble and people are upset about this thing or the other. then comes along some crisis that he manages to either invent or take advantage of or some twist of events that he has surfer todden like a get back out in front. i think we are probably -- we are waiting a long time if we think we will wait him out for the days that popular opinion turns against him.
>> there are people working in both capitals are now to put together an agenda for the proposed bilateral summit meeting of the two presidents to take place on the edges of the june g 8 meeting scheduled, of all places, for sochi. the most substantivehing they are talking about is a bilateral treaty on trade and investment. and number of the big american companies that are active in russia favor this. they would like it. there are people who think this will help breathe some life into russia's the beauty of membership, that it would fill in -- russia's wto membership, that it would fulfill some of the gaps. but i would like to hear from some of the people on the stage what the real utility of that is.
is this something we are talking about because we don't have much of anything else to talk about? , hown a political climate viable it is it? could this administration deliver even if they could inc. the document? -- even if they could ink the document? witham martin fleck decisions for global responsibility. obama has been advocating further cuts beyond the new start treaty and cuts to nuclear weapons between russia and the united states, even advocating an additional one third cut to the arsenal. talent,s collection of i wanted to pose the question. is putin likely to support that? howot, how could he -- could -- what might convince him to support it? >> back here.
>> arms control association. limitsto ask about the of hostility. annualspired by the worldwide threat assessment that included wendy seven pages of cyber terrorism nonproliferation , climate change but not one word about the russian strategic forces that are the only threat that will annihilate us all in an afternoon. howy question really is much longer can the u.s.-russian relationship sustain a cold war nuclear force structure and all its metal? >> says this is sort of related to the other one come i will take another question from down in front. >> thank you very much.
it has been the primary discussion for me in a could a man. of course, this was the core question i was trying to ask and did not understand. line of this book is that the primary limit to the partnership is the verypatibility of the based interests. russia desires to position itself to an alternative to a urasian power to the u.s. you mentioned several where previous [indiscernible] have been ended.
be where dowould you see the phenomenon called they [indiscernible] somehow connected to the russian desire to preserve as an alternative eurasian power to an alternativeit to this desire or is it on its own a problem itself? and how can it solve itself? >> we have related questions here. i think the question about the agenda for the summit and focusing on trade issues -- so far, we haven't heard whether any of the nuclear issues and arms control will be on the agenda. it is a question we are asking across the board. -- not just the
ongoing attempts to find some way forward on the u.s.-russia relationship. and then, this final question about antiwesternism. we have seen a lot on the pages of "the new york times" and the papers about the anti-u.s. sentiment that has been alive and kicking in the russian press. we have seen the cement his accusationshe same brought back to the u.s. in sochi. sellnews seems to never newspapers and all the journalists and experts are always waiting for an opportunity. [laughter] everybody is waiting for the story to get out and they all end up coming in a big rush.
how do we -- >> i think maybe the question about the bilateral agenda and i'm sure that they will say more about the arms control -- i have a separate chapter in my book about economics and energy. it is not divided by administrations. that is the one area in u.s. russian relations that is relatively depoliticized. there are some exceptions. but where you have a younger, old-younger, a different clash of russians in the private sector who interact with the u.s., in this case, the same with european counterparts on a completely different basis. they are in the private sector and they want to do business and speak a different kind which with each other. having said that, you always see on the russian side and to some extent to the u.s. side the complaints that we should have a more robust economic relationship. $40 billion a year with china, $500 billion for instance.
why don't we have a more robust relationship? then it comes down to -- one russia maliahat experts energy. we don't need russian energy. hardware.ry we aren't going to purchase military hardware. so what is it? what would constitute that trade relationship? belling is doing very well -- well ins doing very russia. automobile manufacturers now more copies. withw more complicated russian policies. the white house is trying to improve and reinvigorate economic relationship. this trade and investment treaty is something that has been discussed for years and years and maybe they will find it. how much difference that will make to the relationship remains
to be seen. a lot of these previous events haven't been as successful. i would only question on this summit, of a bilateral edward snowden situation. our administration would like to push forward clearly with deeper cuts. i am not convinced that the russians are interested in that at the moment. i agree with you. our relationship with russia is a time warp. the thing that determines where the two nuclear superpowers who can destroy each other may times over, which is still what determines a relationship and not more these more modern 21st-century issues. >> you mentioned a time or up. -- time warp.
congress -- can the administration deliver any felony trade issue when we have andlar questions about tpp the transatlantic trade agreements and the transpacific with japan? nowr, you have watched this from an interesting perspective. could the administration deliver on any of these issues? >> that is a great question. it is hard to imagine. i suppose you could imagine some sort of a trade agreement that is relatively modest scale and didn't really do much in a large sense that would go someplace of any consequence. it will be hard for this administration to get through congress. just look at what happened to jackson back -- jackson maddock.
all that did was keep the status quo. it is sadly done permanently instead of every year. it's a way of congress saying we are not approving of the way russia does business at home and much to this administration's chagrin. it would actually require any kind of concessions without some sort of human rights cause that would make the russians go nuts, it is hard. trade in general, harry reid says, no, sorry, no fast-track authority. mr. president, we are of the same party, but that is done. obama may wait until he has something more to show for it at the asian-european talks and then make an effort. the for the moment, trade does not seem to be an agenda that
the administration will find much traction with on the hill. >> does this seem like antiwesternism? think back to the clinton administration, which you don't need to think back to, when you know very well, one of the biggest complaints was that the u.s. and the west has never stepped up enough to help russia economically. is ahe trade debate continuation of the idea that we did not embrace the former soviet union in the way we ofuld have been the times the grand bargain and the marshall plan and the new marshall plan and the trades basically feed into that. what do you think? >> i think it is a permanent , a decade or so ago, the major obstacle to what
is called a 21st-century trade and investment relationship between russia and the united states and indeed russia and europe and the rest of the world, the major obstacle is that russia does not have a 21st century economy. that is really what it boils down to. the mention of it, it is still of the classic case of the resource curse. they are totally dependent on what they can pump or dig out of the ground here and they don't have a modern service sector or manufacturing sector. that aagree with peter trade-backed -- some really important trade backs are imperiled by the political deadlock here. as to the georgian ambassadors -- we are in ank version of the 19th century debate between the slum of files
in the western writers -- between the slavofiles and the westernizers. -- guessfamily values vofiles.a we versus the other guys mentality. it is in keeping with his political mode of operation, diverting power. it makes a joke of the word federation which is in the name of the country. you can't have a vertical power in a federation high-definition. it has to be a horizontal power in some sense. it takes us back to the real nature of putin as the unonitored ran -- as the
modern man who has mastered modern techniques. don't wake up every morning wondering if world war 3 and global thermal nuclear wars were to happen. that is a big deal. those of us who have made or tried to maintain our optimism about russia shouldn't lose sight of that. and the reason is not because the weapons are no longer there because, as you say, the russian rocket forces are the inheritor of the strategic rocket forces and will come to arms control and a second. your paper had a piece the other day of how the russians maybe cutting very close to the edges of the imf treaty. i do not think that there is any ,hance for further reductions not least because -- and the russians here are not wrong. weaponsns in offense of
would have to be in the context of some sort of restoration of at least the spirit and the consequence of the abm treaty, which is to say limiting missile defenses. and there is no appetite for that on our side at all. so the arsenals are still there. but what is not there is the global geopolitical and ideological contest that really was at the heart of the cold war. attract its to near-abroad neighbors, the former republics of the ussr. but it has not even an aspiration of exerting soft power, if i can put it that way, very far from home. in fact, they are having trouble maintaining it in you crane, to take us back to that. >> time for maybe one last question.
i'll take the lady sitting down right here. >> the wilson center. i have a question concerning syria. he painted a very gloomy picture of the relationship and you an't expect much in terms of bilateral relationship through the end of the obama term. considering everything that we heard, what kind of leverage does the united states have on russia to convince them to work with them on a solution for syria? regardless of the chemical it does not really focused on the core issue, which domestic problem here. >> thank you.
the young lady here. >> thank you. i am a scholar at george washington university. i am from georgia. stent.tion is to dr. how do the u.s.-russia relations pro-soviete issue of countries and where do you see for options or solutions these issues in case of u.s.-russian art and ship -- u.s.-russian partnership or in case of limited partnership or competition between these countries? >> let's jump in right here. you get the last word from the florida. my name is martin.
i am a student at american university. i was hoping you could talk to the article that mr. putin wrote in "the new york times" that at the end of 2013 regarding the syrian conflict. i was wondering if you could speak to the idea that he sees the west as sort of flouting the rules come especially the u.n., for its own convenience and the idea that clinton needs to speak directly to the american people needs than -- that putin to speak directly to the american people rather than through others. what's that ties nicely together to the first question. >> we have a separate op-ed page and news page. thing, you have to understand about on op-ed like ant, the kremlin hired american pr firm who told them it was a good idea to do this and he was happy to do it. i don't think he cares too much
what american public appealing -- public opinion thanks. this is his way of saying, you , a very -- [indiscernible] [laughter] he loves -- and it's not just him. this is an old soviet thing. he loves the old false equivalence of saying you can't criticize us because you do the same thing. again,again, and superficially equivalent but really aren't. you can't talk about